As leaders in the body of Christ we are responsible to lead for the sake of the body of Christ. We are not leaders for the sake of our own Christian organizations. We are responsible to the Holy Spirit in all that He desires to do in the area of responsibility entrusted to each of us as leaders. Jesus is the head of His Church and whatever expression of Christ we are called to lead is a testimony of the body of Christ. We must seek to receive our instructions from the Holy Spirit and not from mere biblical principles and truths. We cannot lead to merely meet the needs of people, fulfill our own dreams, or accomplish some sought out significance in life. We must lead for the purpose of Christ.
In order to lead for the purpose of Christ we must first lead for and from the temple of Christ. Our first qualification as leaders is in being a place where God lives. Our lives must be filled with God’s presence in order to lead for His presence in the Church. Being a temple of Christ comes before being a leader for Christ. Being a temple of Christ comes before being a community of Christ. Being a place where Christ lives is essential to be leaders for any testimony of Christ in the earth. The Lamb is the temple and that temple is found in the human heart (Rev. 21:22). We live in Him and He abides in us.
When we lead for and from the temple of the Holy Spirit we discover the community of Christ. As the community of Christ becomes evident in our lives and in the lives of those we lead, we can then add the measure of leading for and from the community of Christ in our midst. As we lead for and from the community of Christ we will see the purpose of Christ revealed both corporately and individually in the testimony of those we lead. As the purpose of Christ is revealed we can then lead for and from that purpose. As we lead for and from the purpose of Christ and we will see the destiny of Christ fulfilled. We are called to lead with the authority of Christ. This means we must constantly be under the authority of Christ in all that we are responsible for. Everything is dependent upon the temple of Christ inspiring the community of Christ, which reveals the purpose of Christ, and fulfills the destiny of Christ in our lives.
The temple of Christ will facilitate a culture of Christ. A culture of Christ is a culture of love and a culture of faith. Without love there can be no faith, since faith works by love. The Old Covenant was dependent upon the law and the commands of law. The New Covenant is dependent upon love and the commands of love. The commands of law were commands of bondage and fear, but the commands of love are inspirations of love and faith. As leaders we must seek to activate, facilitate, and release a culture of love. Being right or wrong are not the key elements to the discovery or the development of a culture of love. Being loved by God is the ingredient of life that spawns the culture of love in our midst. When we know how much God loves us we are inspired to love others even as we love ourselves.
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
The ability to love others is dependent upon a revelation of God’s love for us. We can only love God when we realize how much God loves us. When we know He loves us we love Him! It is only then that we can truly love others and ourselves. It is not the command that gives us love, but receiving His love. It is a revelation! A revelation of God’s love will be the seedbed for a culture of love in our midst. As New Covenant leaders we must point to the testimony of God’s love in the midst of His people. This will inspire those we lead to look to Him and not to their own right or wrong efforts. This cannot just be a theology of love. It must be a manifestation of His love that is made known by His presence in our midst. God is love and when He is in our midst a culture of love is revealed in our communion with one another. A community of love comes from the communion of His love among us.
A culture of love will create the atmosphere for a culture of faith. Faith comes by hearing God and it is manifested through acts of love from our hearts towards God and one another. Faith is manifested through trust in the One who speaks. It is manifested in a willingness to respond to the One who speaks. It is revealed in acts of honor towards the One who speaks. Faith is dependent upon the One who speaks. These were the attributes of faith. As leaders we must first see these attributes in our own lives and then we must lead to activate, facilitate, and release a culture of faith among those we are responsible for. These were the attributes of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, even in their captivity in Babylon.
Daniel 1:6, 7 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-nego.
These men were given different names by those who observed them from a culture that did not understand faith. These men requested that they be allowed to eat only vegetables and drink the water of Babylon (Dan. 2:12). Their request was that they be allowed to eat and drink these for ten days. Ten is a symbolic number of totality, or judgment. That judgment is not a condemning judgment. It is a judgment of love, even as the ten commandments of God are a testimony of loving God and loving others. These Hebrew men trusted God’s judgments of love in the midst of their testing. They requested only that which they had faith for. They didn’t ask for vegetables or water from Judah. They simply requested that they be allowed to stay in faith towards their God in the midst of their captivity. The names of these men speak of a testimony of faith. Daniel means, ‘God is my judge’. To him the Babylonians gave the name Belteshazzar, a name meaning ‘one who knows secrets’. When we trust the One who speaks it will appear to those who don’t understand faith that we know secrets. The name Hananiah means, ‘God is merciful, gracious and a giver of gifts’. It is a name that implies being willing to receive everything and anything from the One who speaks. To Hananiah the Babylonians gave the name Shadrach, a name meaning, ‘one who sucks the nipple’. A culture of faith inspires a attitude of being willing to receive everything and anything that God gives. When we are willing to receive anything that God gives it will appear to those who don’t understand faith that we are childish and foolish in our actions. The name Mishael means, ‘who is asked for or lent’ in the sense of ‘in awe of God’ or ‘God is awesome’! This name implies an awe for the One who speaks. To Mishael the Babylonians gave the name Meshach, a name meaning ‘drawn or controlled by force’. When we are willing to respond to the One who speaks with actions of honor, those who do not understand faith will accuse us of being controlled by force. They will interpret our honor for God as some cultic force of control in our lives. The name Azariah means, ‘God is my help’ or ‘he that hears the Lord’. It implies not knowing anything and being completely dependent upon God. The Babylonians called Azariah, Abed-nego, a name that means you are ‘in league with the god of knowledge or science’. It implies that you ‘know things’. When we are completely dependent upon the One who speaks it will appear to those who do not understand faith that we are in league with some form of knowledge or enlightened truth. These are the attributes of a culture of faith.
Daniel 1:15-20 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.
This is the testimony of a culture of faith that flows from a culture of God’s love. We must lead for these attributes in the body of Christ.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson